Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Nuns on trial for un-nunly act.
The nuns say they were exercising their right to free speech when they cut through a fence around a Minuteman III missile silo, used their own blood to paint a cross on the military structure and began swinging at it with hammers.
Prosecutors say those actions interfered with the national defense -- a crime, that if a jury finds the women guilty, could put them behind bars for 20 years. [...]
The nuns, jailed since their Oct. 6 protest near Greeley, maintain they were a "Citizens Weapons Inspections Team" that was symbolically disarming the United States.
They had argued their actions fell under principles established by the war crimes tribunal at Nuremberg after World War II. The United States endorsed the principle that people are obligated to disobey laws that lead to crimes against humanity. But U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ruled the defense may not be used at the trial.
The women will now argue they were exercising symbolic free speech, according to Walter Gerash, who represents Hudson.